Paul Ceglia’s claims to a serious ownership share in Facebook had looked intriguing when they first surfaced last summer — and even more so this year, when international law firm DLA Piper agreed to back him up after doing “weeks” of due diligence.
But following waves of attacks by Facebook on his evidence and character, the firm has today confirmed that it has stopped representing him. The case has yet to go to trial, but the development doesn’t look good for Ceglia.
The gist of the case is that Ceglia had hired Zuckerberg to do some software development work on a site called StreetFax in 2003, that intended to offer a database of street photos to insurers. While both parties agreed Zuckerberg had done some work, Ceglia said seven years later that Zuckerberg had also agreed to sell him a significant portion of Facebook — first he claimed 84% but then dropped his claim to 50%. (Links to our past coverage at the end of the article.)
He produced documentation that sort of seemed to back him up, although key details like proof of payment for Facebook, have not been produced. He added a new batch of emails this past April, trying to further prove his claim.
But Facebook retaliated, in June dumping a collection of evidence as well as expert analysis that questioned every aspect of Ceglia’s claim, including his personal past. He’d previously had a variety of run-ins with the law, mostly involving various types of scams.
While Ceglia says he’s found more lawyers, DLA Piper’s decision to drop him obviously suggests his claims are likely too weak for them to realize any benefit out of representing him. Pulling out now does call into question their decision to represent him in the first place, but it allows them to get out of a long and messy lawsuit in which they may have been portrayed in an even worse light.
Be sure to check out our past coverage of the case: